Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who is Sam Shields?

At the start of the season no one had ever heard of Sam Shields. Now, everybody knows who he is. He is the player that ended the Bears’ late fourth quarter drive, in the NFC championship game, with a huge interception. Shields already had an interception of Jay Cutler earlier in the game. His big plays in clutch time have helped get his name out there, but some people still might not know about enough him.

Sam Shields attended the University of Miami (FL). His first three seasons there he was a wide receiver. This helps explain his ability to go up and take the football from the receivers. At the start of his senior season at Miami, he was asked to switch over to defense to play cornerback. Many offensive players would put up a fight and not want to go over to defense, but Sam just did what was best for his team. During his senior season he recorded 41 tackles (ranking sixth on the team), had a forced fumble and fumble recovery, and he also contributed on special teams. Because of his transition to defense and his stellar performance, he was awarded the teams most improved player award his senior season. I think this shows that Sam just loves to play football and will do whatever it takes to help his team win. That is what the Green Bay Packers look for in a player.

The NFL draft was April 22-24, 2010; Sam’s name was not called. He kept his head up and stayed positive and on April 30 he got a call from the Packers. He was signed as an undrafted free agent. Little did the Packers’ organization know that he would be a key contributor on their path to the Super Bowl. He played in 14 of their 16 games this year and had 29 tackles and 2 interceptions. This isn’t a bad year coming from a rookie, but his best was yet to come. In just three playoff games he recorded 11 tackles and 2 key interceptions. During the NFC championship game, he became the only NFL rookie to have 2 interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble in a playoff game. His best play of the game was definitely his interception in the last minute of the game to punch the Packers' ticket to the Super Bowl. Sam played his best during the very critical moments of that game. Without him, I don’t think the Packers would be heading to the Super Bowl.

Hopefully, there are more big plays to come from Sam during the Super Bowl. Who would have thought that the Packers would need big plays from someone who wasn’t even drafted to win the NFC championship. I am looking forward to watching Sam continue to make a name for himself during the Super Bowl and the rest of his Packer career.

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